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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

July 7, 2009

Recreation students learn by doing during trip to Colorado

myllykangas MED

Northwest recreation majors Heather Becker, left a senior from York, Neb., and Kelly Cornett, right, a senior from Pattonsburg, pose with a participant at Sports Made Possible, a recreational facility in Centennial, Colo., that operates a baseball park adapted to the needs of young people with disabilities. Becker and Cornett were part of a group of Northwest students who traveled to the Mile High State this summer to observe recreation professionals at work leading a variety of programs and events.

Northwest students studying parks and recreation management, corporate recreation, and wellness and therapeutic recreation recently spent 12 days touring various recreation agencies and facilities in Colorado as part of an elective course offered by the University's Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

The three-credit-hour, experience-based course is designed to give students opportunities to observe first-hand the kinds of events and services they will lead and administer after completing their degrees.

A total of 14 students took the course, which involved networking with professionals in order to discuss possible internships and other field experience opportunities.

"Students studying recreation often are experiential learners," said Dr. Sue Myllykangas, who taught the course. "Taking the students into the field allows them to observe the concepts as they are applied."

The exploring recreation resources course has been offered at Northwest for the past three summers and has given nearly 40 students the chance to observe such facilities as the Craig Rehabilitation Hospital, the Coors Employee Wellness Center, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Rocky Mountain National Park, YMCA Camp of the Rockies and the Children's Museum of Denver.

Future recreation professionals taking the course also participate in a day-long white-water raft trip on the Arkansas River designed to offer insights into teamwork and leadership styles.

Some of the other facilities and events visited by this summer's class included the Rocky Mountain Senior Games in Greeley; Sports Made Possible, which provides a baseball field for young people with disabilities; and the King Adult Day Activity Program, which is part of the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Colorado.

Evaluations at the end of the course show that participants demonstrate a marked increase in their knowledge of core recreation concepts and a fuller understanding of national certification competencies.

For more information about the exploring recreation resources course and other programs offered by Northwest's HPERD department e-mail Myllykangas at or call 660.562.1377

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468